Ratdog shows (Bob Weir and friends)

Yes, it's been a whole week since I saw Ratdog for the first time out of the 3 times I saw them this past week, but this is the first time I've had the time to sit down and focus on the blog. Now my column, 'Ask Dr. Dot' is due out in many different places, so I have more dead lines to meet and asses to kiss lol. Nah, just kidding, I love writing my column and I am proud to announce it now appears online at NYROCK.com which has been goin' strong for 9 years.

They give me a lot of freedom (I am allowed to swear, yay!) compared to other US publications that run my column. So I have the rated PG version and rated R version. I don't like being tamed and having limitations, but I suppose sometimes you have to behave to reach a bigger audience with your advice/talent/what have you.

Back to Ratdog. Ratdog is fronted by the Grateful Dead's singer, Bob Weir. Now that Jerry Garcia is dead 馃檨 the G.Dead still tours, but sometimes members break off and tour alone with their own solo projects. Ratdog has been going on for 12 years now (that's what the drummer, Jay, told me anyways. I first met Bobby WAY back in 1984. I asked him for an autograph, as I was overwhelmed and didn't know I would see him almost everyday for 3 years after that.

Steve Parish, the former stage manager for the Dead (who was with them for like 30 years) invited me backstage to massage his neck during the show, actually on the stage. That is how I met the Dead. My family, (hippie parents) brought me to many shows of the Dead even when I was young, so I was always curious to meet them and see if they were like I imagined.

After I graduated high school, I put all my shit into storage ( I will still dating Joey Ramone) but got sick of the same old scene. I wanted to be free and follow the dead. I stopped shaving, wearing make up and a bra and just turned “natural” you know, granola baby. Needless to say, Joey was shocked the next time he saw me, barefoot and high and 5 pounds chubbier, wearing tied dyed everything and not giving a shit about a thing except what the Dead played the night before.

I have to laugh now, as Zappa wrote a few songs making fun of people like that, exactly how I was at that period, playing my bongos in the dirt in San Fran, in between Dead tours:

FRANK ZAPPA 'FLOWER PUNK'

Hey Punk, where you goin' with that flower in your hand?
Hey Punk, where you goin' with that flower in your hand?

Well, I'm goin' up to Frisco to join a psychedelic band.
I'm goin' up to Frisco to join a psychedelic band.

Hey Punk, where you goin' with that button on your shirt?
Hey Punk, where you goin' with that button on your shirt?

I'm goin' to the love-in to sit & play my bongos in the dirt.
Yes, I'm goin' to the love-in to sit & play my bongos in the dirt.

Hey Punk, where you goin' with that hair on your head?
Hey Punk, where you goin' with that hair on your head?

I'm goin' to the dance to get some action, then I'm goin' home to bed.
I'm goin' to the dance to get some action, then I'm goin' home to bed.

Hey Punk, where you goin' with those beads around your neck?
Hey Punk, where you goin' with those beads around your neck?

I'm goin' to the shrink so he can help me be a nervous wreck . . .”

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I always wore a pin on my clothes of Frank sitting on the crapper, and so the dead heads all called me “Zappa Crappa” in stead of Dot.

There were around 3,000 of us dead-heads who were at every show, tour heads. I never asked for money from the dead for massaging them, I just wanted in to every show (back stage of course and to see every sound check and to occasionally take advantage of the catering 馃檪 I mainly massaged Bill and Mickey, the two drummers, but sometimes Bobby would have a back rub and Steve Parish always had a neck rub during the show. (I made braceletes and sold tye dyes to make $$). Jerry sometimes had his forearms and hands done, but he would never take off that famous red t-shirt of his. I am getting WAY off subject here.

I heard from certain band members (Ratdog) that now that the Dead tour without Jerry, that the bass player, Phil has taken charge and he is a bit of a control freak to say the least. This lead to Bob being a bit depressed and drinking a bit too much on the last summer tour. I found out how different even the management is now when I called backstage last summer to see if anyone needed a rub down and the people working the management are absolute assholes, screaming into the phone that “Steve Parish doesn't fucking work with us anymore” and just being snotty pricks.

So much for the hippie-love vibe, that died with Jerry, let me tell ya. Loads of people had been fired to save money and well, increase the income of the remaining folks, which I suppose is only natural, it is the survival of the fittest now isn't it? It's all about the Benjamins now with the Grateful Dead, so don't forget to buy a few t-shirts when you see them so Phil and co. can relax and live the good life.

They were the top grossing touring band for like 20 years, all of their shows were sold out solid and I mean ALL. Guess they didn't save up for that rainy day, tsk tsk.

Backstage at the Starland Ballroom, last Tuesday night, I saw Bob Wier and he said “Hey Dot, long time no see” which was really nice. He seems really happy and healthy now, but yes, he is still wacky. He is hard to describe. Silly, strange, moody, sweet, mysterious but most of all fun.

His wife is about 20 years younger than he is and she looks like Shaina Twain. They have a kid or two together, I saw one backstage at the Beacon theater shows.

Anyhow, it was cool pulling into the parking lot, reminded me of the G. Dead days, everyone smoking doobies and dancing next to their car, each car blasting out a different dead tune. Most selling shit next to their car, like tye dyes, hand made jewelry and food. I was curious about the music, as I had never seen Ratdog before, just Bobby and the Midnights, his other solo project. Ratdog played mainly Dead tunes, check it out

^ I'm telling you, my camera is not the best

And keeping with Dead tradition, Bob had an oriental rug on the stage. The place was full of Dead Heads all twirling and dancing around, just like the old times. I think Bob is happier doing Ratdog than he is touring with the Dead, but they have to tour again for their 40th!! anniversary tour this summer.

I massaged the guitar player (he signed the set list above) and drummer, a hottie named Jay Lane. Hello, his wife is one lucky lady, he is super fun and extremely sexy, like an American Indian with a bit of European thrown in there. He is about 6 foot 5 inches tall and well, aaah, I am swooning still.

They invited me to massage them again the next couple nights at their hotel in NYC and then again at the Beacon Theater shows Friday and Saturday night, both were mega sold out. Loads of hippies standing outside just holding up one finger, as in “I need a miracle, just one miracle”.

My pal Steve, the tour manager goes outside at every show, when there are 3 songs left and gives out a bunch of “miracle tickets” as he calls 'em to random Dead Heads, which is so sweet of him.

Steve at work> Steve is a hard rocker, and so I hung out pretty often in his tour office listening to his favorite group, the Deftones on his computer. I am certain the hippie music is just not his thing.

I was told Bob's wife didn't want me to massage Bob. In fact, he used these very words “She would hand me my left nut”. LOL! She shot me dirty looks every time she saw me backstage. What ever snotty, get over it, if I wanted to shag Bobby, I would have done it LONG ago, before he met you.

She was just out for a few shows, bothering, I mean, visiting Bobby. No wonder most rock stars leave their ball and chain at home, no man wants to be told what he can and can not do, especially a rock star. No big woop, I had a blast hanging out with the lads, massaging them and then on the last night, going out to karaoke with a couple of them. One thing I will always remember, is telling Jay, the drummer, how it irked me that I never got to see Jerry play 'Dear Prudence' live.

I have seen the Dead over 300 times and it was always the show (Jerry solo) that I missed when he played that tune. (Also, I can't believe all those years and not one picture of them in person. You just don't ask the Dead for such a thing, it was like a religion and Jerry was the pope, you just didn't. I mean, how many pictures have YOU seen of Jerry and a fan? None. Anyhow, Jay said, “I will get Bob to play it tomorrow”. Sure enough, they played it Friday night, it was fucking incredible.

If Ratdog is heading your way, try to catch their show, it's almost like the old days, in fact, it is better than seeing the dead from 1986-1989 because when they released that song “touch of grey” and went on MTV for the first time in 1986, the secret party was over, it was laden with fake hippies selling crack and scalping tickets, it just wasn't the same anymore. Now that the smoke has cleared and they hype is over, Ratdog, even though Jerry isn't there, is a special exprerience, a secret party, so keep it low.

I just love how colorful the Dead passes were. I have to get my Ratdog passes scanned in, they have a snarling, vicious dog on them. My book 'Butt Naked and Backstage” (which isn't out yet in the US) goes into great detail about my years on Dead tours as well as every band I come across. My blogs are just quickes, someday the long version will be available for you if you want. It's a rock and roll diary, yeah baby.